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DEXIS launched the DEXIS® Imaging Suite 10.0.4 in October 2012, at the ADA Annual Session in San Francisco.
DEXIS launched the DEXIS® Imaging Suite 10.0.4 in October 2012, at the ADA Annual Session in San Francisco. While this was the first glimpse for most in the dental profession, a core group of dedicated people had been working intently for several years, crafting the architecture and feature set that would not only impress the industry, but make a real-time impact in the dental practice on a day-to-day basis.
Here, we interview John Steck, Director of Product Management for DEXIS, on the labor of love that was bringing the DEXIS Imaging Suite out of R&D and into reality.
Q: When did the conversation about creating the DEXIS Imaging Suite first begin?
A: From its inception, the DEXIS product always has been about simplicity, elegance and sophistication. In some ways, the conversation that led us to designing the Imaging Suite started as far back as the mid-1990s, with the development of the original software and sensor. From that point on, we’ve consistently asked, “How do we continue this legacy? Technology is changing - how are we adapting?”
It always feels like we’re talking about what’s next, but with the recent evolution in code languages and platforms, as well as the speed of computer processors, we felt it was the right time to think about how these changes impacted our mission for DEXIS to always be very fast and very easy to use. One of the most unique aspects of DEXIS always has been its ability to operate quickly on limited hardware.
To answer your question more specifically, when DEXIS and Dentrix Image came together in 2007, we knew both systems offered a lot. We embraced the task of figuring out how do we bring the best of both to market? Dentrix Image is strong in features such as cosmetic imaging and integration with practice management. Its focus was on delivering case acceptance. The DEXIS team set to the task of determining how we could best take advantage of that within our framework.
Q: With so much changing in terms of professional and personal technology, was it daunting to take this on?
A: Since our initial discussion about architecture, the Imaging Suite focus began in earnest 2 or 3 years ago. Everyone would agree that there has been an accelerated evolution of code and language and toolkits available - and it is all very dynamic. In such an innovation-driven part of the industry, there is this question of whether you can adapt quickly enough to the changes. The DEXIS response to that was to evolve our own architecture to meet those needs and to create a multi-platform device for all considerations. We endeavored to create the most flexible infrastructure possible.
The other constantly changing side of this project has to do with the storage and transfer of data. Customer needs are changing, especially as we see more multi-location practices, where the dentist wants to be able to see images from either practice in any location. We believe we’ve accomplished a very nimble solution, able to deliver a quick response based on the best technology.
Q: Of course, just because the launch happened, doesn’t mean the process is over. What is some of the feedback you’ve received from beta testers and other early adopters of the Imaging Suite?
A: At the time of our wide release (in October), we’d had customer testing ongoing for 13 to 14 months. There is a lot to learn and you gain more insight with each new user. There is a newer process around software development - that we’ve embraced - that suggests it is better to release iteratively rather than try to get it all right in the first version. We have hard metrics at DEXIS when it comes to ease-of-use. We appreciate all the customers who have been part of that process.
Q: Is there any feature to the Imaging Suite that you are especially proud of?
A: I don’t want to get away from the Suite itself, but I’m extremely proud that we were able to launch concurrently with DEXIS go™. It demonstrates the flexibility of the program. We’re in a Windows environment, but interfacing with an Apple device, directly, in real time. We worked hard to build the architecture to support that interface.
Q: What one demonstration would you recommend interested customers prioritize in their Imaging Suite research?
A: Well, it depends on the type of dentist that he or she is. However, any dentist interested in pursuing cosmetic procedures should check out DEXCosmetic™. It is all about helping the doctor communicate with the patient about suggested treatment. Not every person can mentally visualize what the dentist describes. Now, you can show patients - with their own smile, or the smiles of patients with similar treatment - what their results could be. This visualization offers a better chance of getting through to the patient so he or she can make an informed decision.